Torry Battery has a place in the heart of many locals. As we built the Greyhope Bay vision many people wanted to share their stories and memories of times spent at Torry Battery with us. The monument has also long been a place where people come to remember loved ones lost by laying flowers and spreading ashes. We want to honour the memory of all loved ones lost by creating special places and experiences for connection.
The project has inspired people, like Dorothy Elder (pictured on the left with her daughter, Julie), to join in with her support and fundraising talents as a way to memorialise her late husband Michael Elder, a Torry loon and Skipper, who often sailed out of Aberdeen Harbour. Dorothy has hosted afternoon teas, tombolas and many raffles to help build the Greyhope Bay Centre.
In Memoriam Poem 'Bess'
This poem, which can be read overleaf, was sent to us by Jonathan Hopkins from New Jersey, who's grandmother, Bess, had recently died at the age of 102.
Barbara (Bess) McIntosh, was born in Aberdeen in 1918 during the second wave of the Spanish Flu. She and her 3 sisters loved spending time in and around Aberdeen Harbour. She left for a life in America in her twenties, but spoke daily of her "Silver City by the Sea," including its seascape and the carved Lion at Cowdray Hall, which her father, a stonemason, helped to carve.
Jonathan wrote the poem 'Bess' to memorialise his grandmother and has shared it with Greyhope Bay in the hopes that others may find comfort in the imagery and sentiment and also honour a kindred spirit.
On Monday morn,
blew the old foghorn
Of the Lighthouse Girdle Ness.
And across the Dee, on Albert Quay,
Three sisters stood with Bess.
You lingered there in the North Sea air
And dreamed of what could be,
As four grey ships unmoored their slips
Pushed hopeful out to sea.
And part of you, you sailed out too
For far off ports of call,
But you’d never forget,
the stone silhouette Of the Lion of Cowdray Hall.
You’d brave the salty spray of life
With quiet dignity.
In a song, in a bird, in a child, in a word,
You’d find hope and majesty.
And in a flash a century’s past,
Three ships, their journey’s through.
And now at last, run home, wee lass
Your sisters wait for you.
The birds now sing and kirk bells ring
Your long life’s melody.
While the Torry Coo drones loud and true;
Lone piper of the sea.
- J. Hopkins Princeton, NJ